NIWA to collaborate with states to boost inland waterways operations

R-L: Barrister Danladi Ibrahim, the Acting Managing Director, NIWA; Mr Femi Ajishafe, General Manager, Research, Planning and Environment and Mr Mu'Azu Sambo, Lagos Area Manager, NIWA at the news conference in Lagos.

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Thursday said it would henceforth collaborate with the riverine states to maintain efficient inland waterways services in the country.

The Acting Managing Director of NIWA, Barrister Danladi Ibrahim, stated this at a news conference which held at the Authority’s Lagos office along the outer Marina, Lagos Island.

NIWA Jetty at CMS

 The managing director said that the initiative to collaborate with state governments for better efficiency would further boost the status and operations of the inland waterways to standards obtainable internationally. 

In  his words: “As it relates to the conflict between NIWA and state governments, not only Lagos State, we have this issue with several other states, Rivers, Bayelsa, and most of the riverine states. Actually, this conflict has really affected development of inland waterways greatly.

“What we intend to do this time around, is to collaborate with these states. Any moment from now, we will be visiting all the states governors that we have issues with and collaborate. 

"We believe that by collaborating, this issue will be resolved and inland waterways will be better for it, instead of legal tussles and conflicts. I don’t see any reason why state and federal government cannot collaborate to develop the economy,” Ibrahim said.

Speaking on the issue of monitoring operators to ensure safety standards by checkmating the challenges of over-crowing and over-speeding, the managing director said the issue would be addressed with the gazette of a code of operation. 

 “As I speak to you, we have a transportation code waiting to be gazette. This code is to regulate traffic on the waterways. All these years we have not had a code to regulate inland waterways traffic.

  “As soon as it is gazette, all these issues of over-loading, over-speeding, will be solved. We will ensure that this code is strictly enforced and I believe that will address the issue of over-loading and over-speeding on the waterways.”

He also disclosed that NIWA would in the nearest future modernise the infrastructure at its Lagos Area Office with a proposed multi-purpose edifice to provide world-class service and comfort, even with an inter-modal provision.

“We intend to have a 45 –story office tower here and in it, we will have about five floors of super shopping malls and 10 floors of car parks attached to it, because it is a kind of inter-modal transportation system, we will have a train station that will link this edifice. 

“The government intends to have a metro station here and there will also be a modern jetty. This will be in partnership with a company in Dubai on a Public Private Partnership arrangement,” he said.

According to the managing director, jobs will be created in the sub-sector as NIWA plans to encourage private sector investments in deploying Hover crafts and Hover barges that can be used to transport travelers and even consignments bearing whatever tough terrains.

He also noted that if a Bill it had pushed to the National Assembly is passed into law, NIWA would become financially buoyant.

The managing director said if that happened then NIWA would be done with its funding challenges.